Kampala, Uganda | URN | Parliament’s Committee on Trade, Tourism, and Industry has tasked Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Limited to provide audited financial statements after it emerged that the facility has not been officially audited for the last four years, reportedly due to the delayed appointment of government representatives to the Board.
Munyonyo is a partially government-owned Vitoria Lakeside five-star hotel resort in Kampala sitting on a 90-acre land. Through the Uganda Development Corporation – UDC, the government holds 25 percent shares or 15,061,309,120 shares out of the 60,244,836,480 paid-up shares in Munyonyo.
While appearing before the probe Committee on Thursday, Dr. Patrick Birungi, the Executive Director of UDC revealed that Munyonyo Resort has no audited financial statements for the Financial Year 2019 and 2022 due to the delayed appointment of government representatives to the Board.
The Committee chaired by Charles Okello the Nwoya East County Member of Parliament is inquiring into the status of government investment in the luxury resort and conference facility.
Dr. Birungi told the Committee that there were no available audited financial statements for the period under review due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He explained that due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the quorum for both the Board and Annual General Meeting required a government representative yet for the period in question, most of the government officials were not in those positions to facilitate the audit processes.
The Chairperson adjourned the probe after Birungi asked for more time to allow external auditors, UHY Thakkar & Associates appointed on 19 July 2023 to complete the ongoing financial audits for better engagement.
Godfrey Odero, the Samia Bugwe County South County legislator demanded that UDC submit all audited financial statements for the previous years from the time the government started investing in Munyonyo dating back to 2007 when the country hosted the 20th Commonwealth Heads of Government – CHOGM in order to inform the Committee’s report.
According to Dr. Birungi, UDC has nominated Betty Katsimbazi and Stephen Mwanje as new Directors of Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort while Andrew Rugasira and Basil Ajer were nominated as alternate directors.
Munyonyo is also owned by Sudhir Ruperalia, the Director of Meera Investments Limited. Sudhir and his co-director, Jyotsna Ruperalia own 30,724,866,605 ordinary shares, while his company has 8,434,277,107 shares, and Jyotsna 6,024,483,648 shares respectively.
It is understood that the government contributed 15 billion Shillings in the run-up to the CHOGM, 2007 meeting that was held at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in the form of a joint venture, and another 13 billion was spent for the construction of a marina and pathways.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development was the shareholder of government shares in Munyonyo Resort until 2022 when the ownership was transferred to UDC in compliance with the UDC Act, 2016.